24th September 2007 was a special day for Cricket enthusiasts in particular and Sports Entertainment in general. It was on this day the inaugural 20-20 (T20) Cricket World Cup Final was played. India vs. Pakistan. Oh what a match. An edge-of-the-seat thriller. After so many twists & turns, India heaved a sigh of relief in the final over. They won the match by 5 runs.
Though the final is over, the real game (commercial) will start from here. Anyone who watched the Australia-India SF and the India-Pakistan final will confidently say that this form of cricket (T20) is here to stay and also gonna dominate the world sports arena.
Though Test Cricket is and will be the purest form of cricket, the format was a turn off from the entertainment angle. Its 5-days format and slow scoring rate did not attract the youth much. Today’s youth prefer more of dynamism and entertainment. Thus when one-day cricket was introduced, there was a kind of momentum building up around Cricket. A game, which was once played only in British colonies, started spreading its wings. Commercial world also started supporting one-day cricket in a big way. Then came the T20 cricket format and the first T20 World Cup. A phenomenon is born. Am sure T20 will be a hit (both commercial & entertainment value) in the days to come. It will develop as the most preferred form of cricket in future.
Now the Football - T20 analysis:
- increased entertainment value (every ball)
- less time (almost equivalent to football)
- more number of matches (ie more number of teams can participate)
- commercial slot between every over (which is not there in football)
- not much of on-field fights and fouls (gentleman game)
- even women feel comfortable watching & playing cricket (more audience for advertisers)
Few of the above points, shows that T20 cricket almost equals football in value terms and in some areas like advertisement, exceeds football. When advertisers get a chance to reach general public often, obviously they will prefer T20 to football. Accordingly more money will flow into T20 format and one fine day T20 will be almost on par with Football in reach and commercial value.
However one advantage that football will always have over T20 is its simple rules and almost nil operational expense (ie playing equipment) for the starters. However that may also get discounted over a period of time, with the flow of advertisement money to every nook and corner to promote T20 cricket in schools and villages. Though football is an easy, less expensive and most popular game; the day is not far when T20 will catch up with it.